Netanyahu: Israel Expects ICC to Reject Palestinian Request Out of Hand

Prime minister says 'hypocritical' bid to join The Hague should be dismissed, since Palestinian Authority is not a state.

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Netanyahu delivers a speech after winning another term as leader of Likud. Tel Aviv, January 1, 2015
Netanyahu delivers a speech after winning another term as leader of Likud. Tel Aviv, January 1, 2015Credit: AFP
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday said Israel expects the International Criminal Court in The Hague to reject the Palestinian application due to the fact that it is not a state.

In a statement at the end of a meeting concerning the Palestinian ICC bid, the prime minister said that the ICC should reject the "hypocritical application by the Palestinian Authority" out of hand "since the Palestinian Authority is not a state."

"The Palestinian Authority is an entity that maintains an alliance with a terrorist organization, Hamas, which commits war crimes," Netanyahu added. "The state of Israel is a lawful country with a moral army that enforces all international laws. We will protect IDF soldiers as they protect us."

On Thursday Netanyahu convened a meeting to discuss Israel's response to the Palestinian Authority's application to join the ICC. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, a rival in the upcoming elections, was not invited to participate in the meeting. The background to the non-invitation is apparently ongoing tension between the Netanyahu, the Likud chairman, and Lieberman, head of Yisrael Beiteinu.

The meeting, which lasted about two hours, was attended by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen, officials from the various government ministries, the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security Service. A senior source at the Prime Minister's Office said that the relevant professionals were invited to the meeting, among them the director-general of the foreign ministry.

Following the failure of the Palestinian statehood resolution at the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday signed 22 international agreements, including the Rome Statue – the ICC founding treaty.

The move brings the Palestinians a step closer toward joining the world's permanent war crimes tribunal, which will allow them to file complaints against Israelis they accuse of violating international law or committing war crimes or crimes against humanity.

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